Health Hazards Associated with Binge Drinking

Health Hazards Associated with Binge DrinkingThe National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as, “a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to .08% or above.” For men this usually entails drinking five or more drinks in two hours or less, and for women it means having four or more drinks in two hours or less. The following NIAAA statistics reveal the nature and prevalence of binge drinking:

  • Most binge drinkers are not alcoholics
  • Binge drinking is most common among young adults
  • Binge drinking is more common among men than women
  • Approximately 75% of the alcohol consumed by adults in the United States is consumed during binge drinking episodes
  • Roughly 90% of alcohol consumed by Americans aged 21 years or younger is consumed during binge drinking episodes
  • Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to drive drunk than non-binge drinkers

Binge drinking is not a fun activity: it can cause serious problems and severely damage your health.

Health Risks of Binge Drinking

The most serious health risk of binge drinking is death from alcohol overdose, also known as acute alcohol poisoning. This is a common tragedy that has occurred fairly often at college parties, as well as hazing and initiation ceremonies for fraternities and sororities. Too many parents send their children to college with high hopes for their future only to lose them to this senseless and unnecessary behavior.

Alcohol consumption is associated with a range of problems to the gastro-intestinal tract, including serious conditions such as esophageal cancer and cirrhosis of the liver. These conditions are more often associated with long-term drinking behavior than with isolated incidences of binge drinking. However, regular episodes of binge drinking expose the vital organs to the toxicity of alcohol, thereby increasing the risk of developing serious problems.

Pregnant women who engage in binge drinking can seriously damage their fetuses, and they may even cause fetal alcohol syndrome. Although many women avoid drinking while pregnant, many women may drink before discovering their pregnancy. A woman who is unaware of her pregnancy and binge drinks may seriously harm her baby at this critical stage of development.

Indirect Health Risks of Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is also associated with many indirect problems, including the following issues:

  • Injury or death from automobile accidents
  • Injury or death from other misadventures such as falling from a high place, drowning or being burned
  • Injury or death from violence (assault, fighting, gunshot wounds, sexual assault, domestic violence and etc.)
  • Sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS, syphilis, herpes or chlamydia
  • Unintended pregnancy

Binge drinking impairs judgment, so it is imperative to treat this problem before you cause irreversible harm.

Treatment for Problem Drinking and Alcoholism

Binge drinking is a risky problem that may stem from underlying psychological issues. In some cases binge drinking may indicate or lead to alcoholism. Treatment can help drinkers stop this destructive and potentially devastating behavior before it leads to tragedy. If you want help finding treatment for binge drinking, call our toll-free helpline now. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer all your questions and help you find treatment.